Thursday, November 02, 2006


Before his descent into madness, Friedrich Nietzsche declared his soul a stirring of strings and asked whether anyone was listening.

I have a friend who stood by me in the darkest days of this spring, and by whom I tried to stand through his dark time. We are now both in very different places, with other and greater demands on our time, and we seem to have drifted apart.

And that upsets me

Now, how can I say that I am yearning for someone I have never met, never really knew, and who never promised me anything in the first place? Well, I like to think that I am not a flamer, but I have spent a lot of my recent life aflame. I spent the greater part of last spring yearning for someone whose voice I had seen only in print and whose face I knew only from a fraction offered in a careful but circumspect lifting of the veil. So I know that common sense has nothing to do with it. And this guy from even farther away has spoken to me and shown me an entire face -- one I have monkeyed with, as is my wont, in Photoshop.

But is the voice that I keep coming back to -- yes, I am a vowel whore, but beyond my manifold shortcomings, there is a miracle involved: the way the internet means the vanishing of distance in the free exchange of voice communication across the time zones and the oceans. That miracle brings people unexpectedly close. And then when they drift away, you find you have tried to embrace a wisp of smoke, or mist...

Some of the other voices that have fallen silent are voices that never really wanted to talk to me in the first place, but who responded to me when I pestered them. I have grown slightly more circumspect [less desperate?] about contacting total strangers because we have some wrinkle or kink in common, but the lack of echo that my better behavior of necessity brings in its wake is sometimes hard to live with. Maybe this all adds up to a mighty argument in Dr. Biggs' column, and all I really need to do is get laid.

But I suspect that what we are looking at here is the Ghost at Last Spring's Banquet, the ninety-eight-foot radioactive Inner Girl that will brook no nonsense where the delights of emotional excess are at stake. Lord, what fools these mortals be, and none of us more so than the Amphibian Brigade. It's bad enough that so much of one's time is taken up with parlor games like "Butcher Than Thou" or "What's Your Problem?" when the real issue is "Only Connect."

Call me queer, but what I yearn for is some kind of connection that makes getting laid more than that -- and I am only beginning to take onboard the rather daunting fact that in crossing the street, I have reduced the number of potential partners from half of the human race to 3 to 10% of my own half. And that's before the games begin...

These are the thoughts of a cheerful Troll. You should see the ones that crop up when I'm depressed...

You might think that I am fishing for sympathy. And I guess you would not be entirely wrong, but I know you would also not be entirely right. This is such a
brave new world to me that I cannot help but wonder at it -- I don't know the rules, don't know the signals and secret handshakes, don't know much about anything, and aside from the occasional moment of social embarrassment, don't really care, either.

I have been so uptight about so many things for so long that giving up is a great relief, and I seem to be learning, at a pretty advanced age, to roll with whatever comes my way. I am spending so much of my life making a spectacle of myself without intending it -- just by being a newbie who gets his AARP card in April. Hence all the little notes about being a fly on the wall whenever I leave a gathering of those in the know. The jaded ones, bare and otherwise. The ones who have been doing particular deeds for so long that the refinements are exquisite, whether it be "fire play" -- oh, how little one wants to know -- or "water sports" or... well, you know who you are. Or the ones who just have a particularly unappealing desire to f#$& the even remotely straight guy, or beyond that, just to be the first to "have" anyone.

And while innocence is neither the same as ignorance, nor bliss, it does provide a certain shelter. I have been so well-treated, by people who share some of my history, by people who cannot imagine my history, by people who thought we shared a history until this summer, by people who just see me as a freak -- it is almost a conspiracy of kindness. It is almost as if the more ridiculous a figure I cut, the more kindness comes my way. There are exceptions, of course.

But then, who promised me a rose garden? No one I can recall. And certainly not in the last year.

Pray for all of those who follow on this rocky road. May they meet with all the kindness they deserve. Because without it, this life is certainly no picnic.

Oh. There has been a clearing of the air on one topic at least:

I had accused my bathroom scale of having hopes of a career in Public Relations when it grows up; I owe it an apology. I had neglected the salient fact that I was weighed in the doctor's office with my shoes on, my pockets full, my cell-phone on my belt... and when I weigh myself at home similarly freighted, I get quite a similar result. Stripping down for [lack of] action returns me to the land of 165. Though the specter of the vanished 161 does continue to haunt me. A fellow has to have a dream, doesn't he?

Hang on and hang in there.

1 comment:

  1. Your post strikes a resonant chord for me.

    Speaking for myself here one cannot overstate the value of a voice, however geographically distant. A voice that tempers your action. A voice that gets you up at night just in case the person behind the voice is online. A voice whose owner I maintain, deserves to be happy.

    A voice that means a lot more than I have words to express. A voice that is always there like a ghost in my dreams.